The Fashion Tipping Point

It was a gamechanging year in the fashion industry.

Image: Oscar de la Renta SS16, c/o Oscar de la Renta

2015 has been a very pivotal year for fashion and those within the industry; it has seen resignations, collaborations, big debuts, and a total social media takeover, but most of all 2015 brought with it a new generation of fashion activists, curators, and creatives. A generation dead set on challenging the industry’s status quo and changing it for the better. As someone who considers themselves part of this new gen, here are my thoughts.

Something I get told on the regular is “fashion is a shallow industry.” Do I agree with this statement? Yes. I believe the industry is shallow but not fashion itself. Fashion is personal, an expression of oneself – it’s when you enter into the industry you find the real problems; whether it’s body shaming, LGBTQ discrimination, treatment of models, or lack of racial diversity, there are issues that need to be addressed and 2015 has been a year this has really started to happen.

The future gen of fashion have grown tired of living by standards and norms set by those who lived generations before them, and this past year saw significant efforts to challenge these norms and create a more equal and empowering industry. One such challenge was the battle fought against body shaming. Back in September, it-girl and top model, Gigi Hadid published an open letter on Instagram addressed to body shamers. Although she’s one of the most sought after models in the industry, people still took the Internet and social media to tell Gigi (a healthy UK size 6-8) that she’s "too fat to model." As both a Gigi fan and human-being-with-eyes, I think these comments are absurd, but no one called out the haters better than Gigi herself, recognizing that she "represent[s] a body image that wasn’t accepted in high fashion before,” and calling for her followers to “be open if not part of the change, because it’s undeniably happening.” And happening it is. 2015 also saw the #droptheplus campaign, created by Australian model Stefania Ferrario. The aim of this campaign was and still is to bring to attention the very low threshold there is when considering models plus size or not. Ferrario, a UK size 12, stated that she wants to put an end to this terminology that is “damaging to young girls.” Unfortunately the mainstream industry stayed rather quiet on the matter, apart from agency Models 1, who produced a series of photos of models from their curve section to demonstrate that “these girls ... can be used across the board” without need of being labelled. With more models challenging the status quo as they enter into the industry, 2016 may prove to be even more pivotal for body image in the industry.

Racism and racial diversity has been a battle long fought in fashion, with the likes of Naomi Campbell and Jourdan Dunn frequently highlighting the lack of black models on the catwalk. However, this year racial diversity in fashion took a turn for the better. Diesel cast Winnie Harlow, a black model with skin condition vitiligo, as the face of the brand, and H&M saw Mariah Idriss become their first ever hijab-wearing campaign star; the latter was a much needed step in the right direction, especially given the recent global rise in Islamaphobia. However the industry still has a long way to go.  Nykhor Paul, Sudanese model and former face of Louis Vuitton, took to Instagram to air her fashion grievances, telling the "white people of the fashion industry [to] get your shit right.” She expressed her anger at having to bring her own make-up to shows because her skin tone was not catered for and that “dealing with these make up issues, skin issues, hair issues, it makes you feel inadequate.” As more people speak out about these issues, which I’m sure they will, then hopefully, come 2016, more models of colour will be cast in shows and campaigns; the industry has to deliver and cater to everyone.

Another major battle this year has been fought against transphobia and homophobia in fashion.  The Dazed 100 readers list for 2015 saw Kendall Jenner dethroned and model Hari Nef claiming the coveted number one spot, with Andreja Pejic coming in third. The significance of this ranking is that these positions were voted for by the public; the public voted for two transgender models to be considered two of the most influential game changers of 2015. I’ve written a lot about genderneutrality and fluidity this year, and I do believe that emerging young creatives are breaking down gender barriers and norms for the better. Another battle? Homophobia. 2015 has not only seen the legalisation of marriage across the USA, a huge win for the LGBT community, but also those choosing to do away with labeling sexuality and becoming sexually fluid. Stylish stars such as Cara Delevingne, Kristen Stewart and 16 year old Lily Rose Depp, spoke out about being sexually fluid this year and the vast spectrum of sexuality; they don’t want to be labelled, they just are. And it’s stars like these fashion need; with Depp recently securing her first Chanel campaign, I think fashion can surely expect a hot new wave of game changers come 2016.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
WHO: Xenia, Managing Fashion Editor at Couturesque magazine
WHERE: London
OBSESSED WITH: Fluffy jackets
CAN BE FOUND AT: @xeniatheklein

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I founded Couturesque Magazine when I was 15 years old because like many of my peers, I felt ignored and talked down to by all of the other teen fashion publications out there. I figured that at the end of the day, the people who knew the most about my generation, were the people who belonged to it. The fashion industry is becoming increasingly dependent on the creativity of younger voices who challenge the status quo and make us rethink what we wear and why we wear it. And that is exactly what Couturesque set out to celebrate - authenticity, intelligence, originality, and diversity... in other words, what makes Gen-Z tick. Fast-forward to 2016 and we now have a staff of more than a dozen fashion distruptors contributing to our daily content from all around the globe, 100K+ readers following us from Toronto to New York, to London, Copenhagen, Berlin, Tokyo, and Tel Aviv, and a plethora of big-wig industry fans and collaborators. But what matters to us the most is the responsibility that our publication has to make a positive impact in the lives of those who come across it - we stand against retouching our photoshoots and we stand for sharing the beautiful, individual, complex voices of everyone, especially those who feel marginalized by mainstream fashion media. We hope that you love our site as much as we do and that you take the time to follow us (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Tumblr / Snapchat / YouTube) throughout our journey to make fashion accessible to the powerful young adults of today.

xo,
Tia Elisabeth Glista
Editor in Chief